Vintage Glass Buttons: Project Ideas

Thanks for all the project suggestions on what to make with the beautiful red vintage glass buttons I got as a birthday present! If you missed the original post, take a look here: Vintage Glass Buttons: A Special Gift. I’m still in the planning and dreaming stages at this point! Recently I pulled out a couple of patterns that have potential. It’s harder to plan a project ‘buttons first’ – remember this discussion on fabric first, or pattern first? Starting buttons first is a whole new level of complexity!

Here’s a couple of possible patterns. I haven’t used any of them yet, so I can’t comment on fit or style. I’m purely going by cover illustration and design potential! (And number of buttons.)

Vogue 2885: 1944 vintage suit jacket – it’s from a similar era to the buttons, very classic and beautiful. However, I don’t wear suits regularly, and I fear that this jacket would become one of those items that hangs in the closet forever. So beautiful, made with love and a ton of hard work, but so not suited to my lifestyle.

Also, it’s very time-consuming to sew a tailored jacket and do a good job. I may never finish this project if I start it! (Must be more realistic about how much time I have to devote to fun projects.) It’s a good project if I wore suits, or authentic vintage outfits, but perhaps not for my bike-riding and extremely-casual-workplace life.

Vogue 1233: Pamella Roland shirtdress. Maybe it’s the gold-tone fabric that has me thinking ‘red buttons’ but something like this would show off the buttons well. I’d have to skip the lower pockets since I only have four buttons, but I’d probably skip the hip pockets anyways.

That one button holding down the collar is a cool detail, I’m really drawn to it! Picture all of those buttons replaced with pretty red ones. It works, right? It does place the buttons in a prominent spot, and they’re protected from wear as they’re all above the waist. (I’m one of those people who bumps into things constantly. Hip-height glass buttons don’t stand a chance.)

Vogue 7168, vintage top pattern. It’s called a waistcoat or blouse on the pattern envelope. The black version in the lower corner is my favourite! It reminds me of a two-piece evening ensemble, like I wore to my prom.

Depending on the fabric choice, it could work with a light summer skirt for day, and a velvet circle skirt for evening. Maybe a red linen, for an all-season piece? Gold linen? Deep burgundy linen?

I once had a red velveteen top in high school that was similar. I loved it! It was red velveteen, scoop-neck with a slight cap sleeve, and a zipper up the back. I wore it with jeans mostly (high school, you know, can’t look too dressy!) and if I had it still, I’d wear it today. (It seems to me I had a red velveteen thing happening in high school. I had this red velveteen top, a red velveteen miniskirt, and a thrift-store red velveteen quilted mandarin-collar jacket with frog closures. Now that was an awesome jacket!)

I just love the elegant styling in the illustration – long gloves, full skirt, flower choker (do you think it would have been a real flower, or a necklace?). I know, that’s not what my everyday life looks like either. But a girl can dream! (Bonus: this pattern is way easier and faster to sew than a tailored jacket. I could actually be wearing it sometime this year!)

Of these ideas, my favourite is the last one! Although I’m not totally sold on any of these patterns, and still like the idea of a simple jacket. I’ll keep looking! I may have to come up with something brand new just for the buttons. It’s almost a good thing that I’m busy and not jumping into this project right away. That way, I can dream up a million different ways to use the buttons without committing to any of them right away! Sometimes it’s nice to have time to think before starting a sewing project… and then again, it can lead to indecision because you’ve had so much time to think up new ideas over and over.

Either way, I have these buttons on a shelf within view, so I can admire them whenever I want!

ps. Thanks for all the nice and thoughtful comments left on my last post, Getting Back to Sewing. It was reassuring to hear encouragement and not ‘blog more, you slacker!’ You guys are the best!  I hope you all have wonderful, fun and relaxing weekends. I’m hoping for nice weather and bike rides!

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26 Responses to Vintage Glass Buttons: Project Ideas

  1. Jill March 23, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    I love that suit! Must find that pattern.

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      I believe it might be discontinued.. but I’m sure even if it is, you’ll be able to find copies online somewhere!

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      I like that! That’s basically what I have in mind when I think jacket – except a little more fitted. Not super fitted, but not quite as boxy. You’re right, it would get a lot more wear than a fancy top :)

  2. LinB March 23, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    Ooh, ooh, look at the brown/plaid vest on the bottom right: IT’S REVERSIBLE!!!! Sew a shank between two buttons, and button them through both sets of buttonholes, from either side of the vest. Genius. You could either use the red buttons as “show” buttons for each side, or have two complete sets of “show” buttons.

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      I know!! Isn’t that so cool? I think only the vest style is reversible, the scoop neck one is not. I like the idea of ‘show buttons’ and regular buttons.

  3. Sue March 23, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    These buttons are simply adorable – you really lucked out!
    I personally think they’d look really great on that Vogue 1233: Pamella Roland shirtdress, but, like you said, a cute top would be much faster to sew up and would definitely be a super cute way to show off those lovely buttons. :)

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      I know, what a lovely gift, right? Someone knows me well! Even just speculating on what to do with them gives me joy!

  4. Sunni March 23, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    I love all your ideas for those gorgeous buttons! Jealous that you have the buttons too! Gah! They are just so fabulous. I have to admit that I especially love your last idea as well. I’ve been hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as of late (via Netflix) and even though I always thought that the 90s didn’t have any style whatsoever, I find that the sort of romantic victorian-ish look coupled with something simple like jeans really appeals. Your idea of using red velveteen, with the buttons, sounds fabulous!
    I also am at that point, as I’ve said several times before, where my lifestyle and the clothes that I’m sewing don’t really mesh. I’m slowly, but surely, turning to more comfortable, workable clothing choices. It’s just too hard to juggle my life in heels and a ridiculously fitted dress. But having a little of both worlds might be just the way to go. Yay!
    xoxo, Sunni

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      I can totally relate to sewing for my fantasy life, and having no clothes to wear for real life! I think it’s because sewing has unlimited possibilities. We can make anything! But it might not be the item we reach for first thing in the morning on the way to work…
      That’s why I’m leaning towards a top or jacket. A jacket goes with a white tee and jeans, or over a little black dress, or over a brightly printed top and black skirt. My trick for fitting fun pieces into ‘regular life’ is making them versatile! (Or that’s my trick, in theory. I’ll let you all know how it goes!)

  5. E March 23, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Those buttons are so pretty I’d be tempted to string them into a bracelet so I could just admire them whereever I went. I like the cropped jacket idea too – maybe in a light grey fabric? I’m thinking of the red vintage buttons used here:

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      Oh pretty! I remember seeing that photo a while back (while checking out Kate Davies’ knitting patterns’ and thinking how pretty the grey was with the red. I feel like grey is so corporate or utilitarian, so adding red buttons would make it more fun! Thanks for the suggestion!
      I think if I made them into a bracelet, they wouldn’t last. I’m forever bumping my hands into things! (That makes me sound a bit crazy, but I mean I ride a bike, and work in a small and sometimes cluttered workspace. Not that I’m constantly flailing around!)

  6. sunny March 23, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I like the third option, too. What about a dress like which has a couple of versions that would really showcase nice buttons? You could alter the placement for just four.

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      That’s kind of fun! I like the one with six buttons though. Four might look a little square, six gives more of a vertical, lengthening look. I like the concept though – simple dress, designed to show off buttons.

  7. Marie March 23, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    I just read your prom dress post and wanted to put in my two cents: don’t make your own wedding dress (did you already decide this?). I have two data points.

    1. My cousin made the bridesmaids’ dresses for her wedding. After some frantic phone calls and a much simplified pattern she informed me “don’t ever sew anything for your wedding. It’ll only end in tears.” (Also, the night before the wedding her mom burned a hole in the veil with an iron. That nearly ended in tears, but her sister saved the day. There were many subsequent tears though.)

    2. My MIL made my wedding dress. She did a beautiful job, but as the seamstress all she could see were the little (very little) flaws. I know I would have done the same thing if I had made it, but since I didn’t I thought it was wonderful.

    • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks for the comment! Ha, I remember writing that back then. Even looking at the photos I remember that exact feeling:
      “When prom finally arrived, I was just about sick of my dress. I’d looked at it every day in sewing class, had agonized over rows and rows of gathering, fought with inserting the boning, and washed my hands a hundred times so I didn’t stain the work-in-progress. All that work and time spent had taken just a tiny bit of the fun out of the dress.”
      Yup, exactly a reason not to make another milestone dress! I haven’t done ANY wedding planning at all, so I haven’t committed to a decision one way or the other. (But now, thinking about bringing a wedding dress project into the office and having to look at it for months while I work, nagging me and reminding me it needs to be sewn…that doesn’t sound appealing!)

      • Tasia March 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

        And I would likely end up just like your cousin (in tears) AND like your MIL, only seeing the flaws! Not a good tone to set for the wedding day, if you’re focusing on flaws :)

      • Anna | Mormor hade stil March 26, 2012 at 2:12 am #

        I agree that if you think it probably will feel like a chore to sew your own wedding dress, you should probably hire someone else to do it.

        I made mine myself. It was an absolute joy. And I loved to wear it. Of course it isn’t perfect, but neither am I so I resolved not to think about it during the wedding, and just focus on enjoying myself. I planned the sewing well, so the dress itself was done more than a week in advance.

        There are some pictures on my blog here: – English recap below the Swedish text. :-)

  8. nothy lane March 23, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Look, the buttons are beautiful. If you’re not sold on any of these patterns (I love the last one myself) just wait. You will come across a great pattern for showcasing the buttons. And from reading your post, I do get that you want to showcase these fabulous buttons. (And with good reason, they are gorgeous!). I don’t think you should put them on the jacket – the first pattern – it would be too “match-y”. I like the unexpected. Especially when the unexpected is unique, vintage and dynamic red!

  9. Velosewer March 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Hi Tasia, I love you vintage buttons and styles. They really are lovely.
    If you make a test garment by mid April why not enter it on pattern review in the vintage contest? That might give you a short term project goal?
    I made my wedding dress and one of the trial versions was in hot pink and I wore it to a very formal function as a test. My husband had no idea about the dress but it gave my a full blown big night of wear to know that the dress could handle a typical Big Greek Wedding. I was also able to adjust my beading and pearl ideas to make the final dress special. There were enough other wedding deadlines and family expectations that this became my personal ‘time out’ from the normal mayhem. And my sewing buddies were fantastic in keeping me grounded. Cheers.

  10. CGCouture March 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    I don’t know how set you are on using all the buttons on one project, but this dress from McCall’s looks like it would suit you, and it uses 3 buttons. That way you can save the last one for a spare, or as a centerpiece for some kind of fabric brooch.

  11. sunny March 26, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    The yellow version of this:

    Has a nice button display, and only 4 buttons.

  12. sunny March 26, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Sorry, here’s another idea:

  13. Amanda March 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Maybe it’s ok to have a fantasy special occasion project for these buttons; after all, they are pretty special :) I do think the idea of a jacket would be nice though – something you could wear with jeans or dress up :)

  14. Alessa March 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I also love the last project best! So pretty!

  15. خياطة وتفصيل April 5, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    I love that suit! Must find that pattern.